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It will be a different ball game in the one day matches

The visiting Zimbabwe team started with a mission to avoid the follow-on on the fourth morning

Woorkheri Raman
The visiting Zimbabwe team started with a mission to avoid the follow-on on the fourth morning. Grant Flower duly completed his century but he was left on his own as Srinath consumed the lower order batsmen fairly quickly. He was the best bet for Ganguly and the experienced speedster responded well. It was yet another occasion he delivered the goods for his team at the right moment in this series. Flower remained unbeaten as the Zimbabweans were made to follow on. A consistent scorecard for the visitors was not good enough to cross the first hurdle of following on.
Dismissing the visitors to complete a victory required a very good performance from the Indian bowlers with the pitch playing true. The major problem was the fact that they had to bowl back to back which meant that the fitness level and tenacity of the bowlers were under severe test. The visitors knew that they could draw the Test match if they applied themselves but the pressure was there always. They had lost the first match at Delhi due a couple of bad hours for them on either side of the fourth day. That would have been at the back of their minds and they needed the top order to click collectively to achieve a draw.
Whittal, who scored runs in the first innings, threw his wicket away after negotiating the medium pacers with assurance. Sharandeep Singh, the off-spinner, lured the batsmen with clever variations in flight accounting for Carlisle and Whittal. The young spinner made the ball drop on the batsmen by bowling at the right speed in the air. Campbell and Andy Flower had a huge responsibility on their shoulders because the fortunes of their side depended on them. Campbell and Flower played sensibly by mixing caution with aggression. They played the waiting game and the loose deliveries were despatched with the minimum of fuss.
Campbell is a very attractive player to watch once he gets going and Flower was the man the Indians were sick and tired of watching him repeatedly grind the attack. The left-handed duo tackled the spinners with circumspection and it was rather strange that the spinners hardly bowled in tandem. Joshi was once again given the preference of bowling from the end Sharandeep succeeded from. Unfortunately, Ganguly seemed to have overlooked the fact that a bowler has to bowl well in order to succeed. Joshi was looking far too desperate to get wickets, which resulted in him spraying the ball. He would have been a far better bowler if he were to bowl from over the wicket to exploit the rough against the left handers.
Flower demonstrated that the sweep is a great weapon to frustrate and put the spinners off line. His reverse sweep was incredible and such was his confidence that he was playing this stroke against the spin as well. He exhibited excellent temperament, stamina and extreme powers of concentration. He would have liked the Test series to prolong, as he never looked like getting out. Campbell, his partner until the last morning played some spanking drives against Srinath to reach his maiden hundred. His dismissal gave the Indians a hint of a chance but Viljeon played with pluck and kept Andy Flower company to survive the crucial phase of the game. Flower and Viljeon ran aggressively between the wickets and it was the positive approach of the Zimbabweans, which enabled them to draw the Test match.
The Test series was enthralling as both sides played a good brand of cricket and the visitors being really impressive even though they lost the series 1-0. Zimbabwe knew their limitations and they never ever showed a negative streak though they were at the receiving end for most of the time. They played sensible cricket in an entertaining manner, which was their aim. Streak and his men also displayed very good spirit and excellent behaviour throughout the Test series.
The Indians have gained a lot by way of some young cricketers coming through with flying colours. Das, the young opener, has shown that he belongs to the national side. Sharandeep Singh has shown enough promise in his first Test and has to be nurtured very carefully. Dahiya, I must confess has answered his detractors with a flawless show and the search for the keeper may at least temporarily be disbanded. All in all, the Indians have done well under Ganguly in the Tests but it will be a different ball game in the one-dayers which is Zimbabwe's forte.